Last year Brad brought up the idea of running a half ironman with a bunch of his buddies from school. I was really happy he wanted to do it, but there was no way I was going to let him do it without me. I was VERY pregnant at the time and didn't know how my body would be only 8 months postpartum, but we still decided to sign up and hope for the best. Training together was super fun and a little stressful with the kids. Luckily we have a lot of family support and both sets of grandparents helped when we needed to take a long run or bike ride together. Brad is very busy with school so it was hard for him to put the time in, but he made it happen and I am so proud of him. If you can run a half ironman in the throws of Dental School you can do anything. :)The race was set on Lake Barryessa about 30 miles outside of Napa. It started at 7am and so we were up by 4, picking up my Dad (he watched Adelaide for us) and heading over. We got there just in time to pick up our packets, get our transition set up, get our wetsuits on, and headed down to the water. It was a beautiful, clear morning and it was fun to see all the Dental students at the beginning of the race and wish everyone good luck.
There is so much energy during a race and it makes it so exciting!
SWIM1.2 miles. Time 0:36:40
The swim was AWESOME! The water was a crisp 56 degrees, but with our wetsuits it was totally doable. I was able to find a good stroke and felt strong the whole time. Open water swimming has always been a little stressful for me, but this was the first time I actually felt confident. The sun rose over the hills on our run and it was a really good start to the race.
Coming out of the water I was a little dizzy and my feet were pretty numb from the water so I took my time getting up to the transition point. Once I got there I quickly stripped off my wetsuit (my hubby was there transitioning too and grabbed my biking gear. I had brought warm clothes to put over my tri suit in case of rain, but decided to leave them behind because it was sunny and clear. I didn't event think to warm up my feet because I figured my whole body would warm up on the bike.
BIKE 56 miles-03:47:41
Holy heaven, welcome to the hardest 3 hours and 47 minutes of my life. Harder than my previous half iron man. Harder than my 4 previous marathons combined. Harder than natural childbirth. About 10 miles into the bike a dark rain cloud covered the area and it started to POUR. Keep in mind that it was only about 45 degrees outside and all I was wearing was my spandex tri suit, helmet, and 3/4 finger gloves. All while going about ~15-25 mph with wind chill. I was FROZEN.Like teeth chattering, body shaking, hypothermic FROZEN. I kept thinking to myself that it couldn't get any worse and it kept just getting worse. The last half I couldn't even eat or drink because my hands were so frozen I couldn't grab onto my gu's or water bottle. I wanted pull over and quit SO many times, but something in me just couldn't. I don't know how or why but I had some serious determination to keep going. The bike wasn't nearly as physically challenging as it was mentally because my whole body was numb so nothing hurt! I found out after the race that more than 1/2 the participants ended up dropping out due to weather, accidents, and gear problems. Truck loads of participants were taken in ambulances to the nearby fire station to get blankets and heat up from hypothermia. It was INSANE. About mile 45, the clouds did clear and the sun came out. I've never been so happy to have sunshine on my back.I didn't finish this leg as fast as my goal, but I am just grateful that I finished at all!!
This was a fast transition. All I had to do was change my shoes, grab more food and head out. I did have to ask a spectator to unclog my bike helmet because my hands were so frozen I couldn't do it🤣--looking back now it's actually quite comical. At the the time I didn't think it was so funny.
RUN 13.1 miles-01:58:31
I knew this would be my best event and I love that it is the last one. I've been a runner for a long time and I know I can grit through pretty much anything. It took about 1.5 miles for me to regain feeling in my feet, but once I did I settled into about an 8:45/min mile and felt good so I stayed there. I did vary a little going faster on the downhill and slower on the uphill (there were TONS of hills the whole race) but by this point I was just so happy to not be cold anymore! There were about 15 University of the Pacific (where my husband goes to school) Dental Students so it was fun to see everyone on the out and backs. I did have some cramping in my legs so I tried to eat more food to get sodium in my body but then my stomach got upset (I naturally don't eat much when I train so my body wasn't used to it) so I decided to just deal with the cramping and keep my pace up. The miles seemed to zoom past and before I knew it I was at mile 12. That feeling when you see the finish always makes the whole race worth it. I crossed the finish line smiling and so happy to be done.